Benteke asks to leave Villa
Aston Villa have confirmed Christian Benteke has handed in a transfer request and the striker will be allowed to leave if a suitable offer is made 'within an appropriate timeframe'.
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Benteke was a revelation for Villa last season after his £7million arrival from Genk and he scored 19 goals in the Premier League.
The Belgium international was a key figure in helping Villa to retain their top-flight status and he has subsequently been linked with a summer move.
20. Christian Benteke
The likes of Atletico Madrid, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur are among the clubs who are reported to have shown an interest in the 22-year-old.
Villa have now confirmed that Benteke has asked to leave the club, but have rejected claims the powerful forward refused to travel on the pre-season trip to Germany.
A club statement read: "In response to reports that Christian Benteke has not travelled to Germany with the club and has made a transfer request, we can confirm that both are accurate.
"For clarity's sake, however, he had already been given extra time off until July 18 and was reminded that there are three years remaining on his contract.
"We consider him to be a Villa player and expect that he will be with us for the 2013-14 season.
"Having received his transfer request, we have also informed him that should we receive an offer within an appropriate timeframe during pre-season which meets our valuation we would act upon it. But he will remain a Villa player should this not happen."
Villa manager Paul Lambert has expressed his disappointment at Benteke's request, but remains hopeful that the player will stay at the club.
Lambert said: "While we're hugely disappointed that Christian has put in a transfer request, it's important that people appreciate we are trying to build something strong and vibrant here at the club, something this club demands and stands for, and we want Christian to be part of that."